The majestic male deer gliding over the forests of Europe caught the imagination of aristocrats and led to the development of deer antler furniture at the beginning of the 19th century. Noble blood from the continent's various realms were no doubt fascinated by the unique 'crowns' of the imposing animals which they must have likened to the aristocracy of the animal kingdom. Thus, they actively sought or hunted them and used their unique antlers to add grandeur to castles and country estates. Back then when the regal animals were plentiful and sport hunting hasn't yet been frowned upon, having a stuffed deer head with its antlers intact was a trophy that emphasized power and privilege. As the deer population dwindled, gathering the antlers--which are naturally shed once a year before the mating season-became the practical method of acquiring the unique decorative material. Antler furniture developed from there and remained a prized fixture that signified wealth and fine taste until today.
While deer antler furniture must have been crafted by ordinary hunters through the millennia, the first documented formal pieces were made in 1825 to grace the hunting castle near Wiesbaden, Germany, of Count William of Nassau. Rivaling his collection of historical antler furniture were those enshrined in the hunting room of the Archduke Johann of Austria's country estate in Brandhof. Also famous for its historical significance and aesthetic appeal is the antler furniture collection of Count Arco which is proudly on display in his palace in Munich, Germany.
With the current environmental concerns, manufacturers of deer furniture have gone green by allowing nature to run its course-waiting for the antlers to shed and be replaced by a new one-instead of relying on the blood sport that animal and environmental activists brand as cruel and not sustainable.
The antlers that are harvested can each become a unique piece such as a chandelier that can be set over your study, living room, or dining room to provide a rustic effect. Deer antler furniture designers have also come up with elegant lamp stands that can be placed on the floor or on a side table. These antler lighting fixtures can incorporate electrical accessories or simply provide candle holders for a natural effect.
Other deer antler furniture designs utilize parts of the antlers to serve as candlestick stands and coat or cup hangers. The precious veneer can be sliced and inlaid on other pieces of furniture to create a unique texture and hunting look. Other deer furniture combines organic material from other animals to create an interesting piece. Antlers can also be paired off with carved horns from deer relatives like ibex or chamois. Equally interesting are antler furniture that incorporates wild boar tusks. The hybrid look provides layers of interesting elements for your home.
Decorating with Deer Furniture
Because of the uniqueness and relative rarity of high-grade materials, antler furniture commands a premium price. But every cent is well spent because each centerpiece is one of a kind. Needless to say, deer furniture caters to a certain style--particularly a country or rustic character. The size and shape of the pieces should also conform to the dimensions of the area where they will be displayed. Despite the high-end price tag, antler furniture is a worthy investment that celebrates nature and lends a distinctive touch to any home.
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